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Experts expect bigger shift to digital marketing this year

Digital marketing in Thailand this year is expected to be a lot more active because of the large increase in social media and Internet video content, and the growth in access to these on mobile devices.

Siwat Chawareewong, president of the Digital Advertising Association (Thailand), said yesterday at the "Ad Tech Roadshow Bangkok" that digital marketing should be embedded throughout the business process - it is not only about online advertising.

Currently, brands and marketers are more actively engaged in digital marketing, which is led by mobile devices, especially smartphones. The factor driving the growth of digital marketing is the rising number of mobile Internet subscribers.

According to Siwat's association, total spending on digital adverts in Thailand this year is expected to grow by 38.03 per cent to Bt5.863 billion. That is still only 4.82 per cent of total ad spending, but this year is expected to see huge opportunities for digital marketing given the rising numbers of mobile Internet and social-media users.

Brands active

Pinyot Pibulsongkram, vice president for marketing at Nok Air, said digital was not only an advertising tool but also played a role throughout the airline's business model, and 70 per cent of its sales came through the digital channel.

Tana Pothikamjorn, senior vice president and head of digital banking at Siam Commercial Bank, said 15 per cent of its customers used its digital channel now. That channel contributes almost 25 per cent of SCB's total transactions, and automated teller machines 60 per cent, while the rest is from branches and the call centre.

Pakamon Tulyapizitchai, vice president for the e-business group at Bank of Ayudhya, said most banks in Thailand were active on social media and invested a lot in them.

"We have 80 products but we do not market all of them over social media. We select the products that fit the digital channel. Once we launch the marketing campaigns, we keep monitoring them and respond to their feedback quickly. We use the tools for handling customer-relations management over the social-media platform," she said."Marketers and digital specialists need to work closely together to handle digital marketing efficiently. For example, content that fits the social-media platform should be short and easily consumed within a couple of seconds."

Tools and platform ready

Krittee Manoleehagul, managing director of Sanook Online and assistant general manager of Tencent, the operator of WeChat, said that localising content was key to using messaging tools for marketing. WeChat ties social messaging to e-commerce with payment solutions and demographic targeting.

Virutt Kosolvijak, sales manager for global business at Line Thailand, said Line was an important marketing platform for business. More brands have been establishing a presence on the Line platform to reach its more than 24 million users in Thailand.

Phu Truong, managing director for Southeast Asia at TubeMogul, said that by next year, 90 per cent of Web traffic would be video content, and digital video was the brightest hope for shifting ad spending from television to online.

Ariya Banomyong, country head of Google Thailand, said the readiness of the mobile broadband network and mobile devices were key drivers for the growth of mobile Internet usage in Thailand. The Internet is the game changer for the way of doing business. Almost all people are always online, via some device. That's a big opportunity for marketers.

Vikas Gulati, vice president for Southeast Asia at Vserv.mobi, said smartphones were a connected ecosystem, with about a billion of them shipped worldwide last year. The mobile-device boom created challenges and opportunities in equal measure for businesses' digital marketing.

The five elements that business should be concerned with when planning to do digital marketing on the mobile platform are voice, video, touch, targeting, and transaction.

"Mobile shopping is a huge opportunity in the emerging markets, and mobile devices are people's purchasing partners," Gulati said.


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